With a varsity squad of just 24 players, you’ll have to excuse the Mount Douglas Rams for their lack of size.
Gleefully, there’s no lack of talent.
The AAA football team lost a “track meet” in its home opener against the W.J. Mouatt Hawks of Abbotsford on Friday, 53-47.
“We’re both highly competitive teams, them No. 3 ranked and us No. 2, but I wouldn’t have predicted 100 points, not at all,” Rams’ coach Mark Townsend said.
Townsend moves into the role as senior coach this season after guiding the junior squad to the AAA provincial championship last year and the AA championship in 2009.
“Defensively I’d like to see us swarm the football with a few more tacklers. I’d also like to see more turnovers from the defence,” Townsend said. “We turned it over three times but only created one turnover.”
On Sept. 16, the Rams celebrate the high school game in traditional U.S. style with a Friday Night Lights theme at Royal Athletic Park.
At 7 p.m. the senior team hosts Bainbridge High School, “a strong AAA team from Seattle.”
“We’re really excited about it. It’s the first time we’ve hosted a U.S. team in Victoria,” Townsend said. “(Bainbridge) is a very good team, bringing 60-70 varsity players. They’ll be a very, very tough team and we expect a big challenge.”
To bolster team morale the Rams’ are promoting a white-out, inviting fans to wear a white shirt to the game and 100 white towels will be handed out to fans.
There’s little doubt the Rams have the offence necessary to win a B.C. championship this year with talented quarterback Jordan Deverill. The Grade 12 has two of the best options to run in B.C. with running backs Mason Swift and Terrell Davis. In the air, Deverill is equally blessed with Taylor Young, who made eight receptions for 86 yards and three touchdowns on Friday. And then there’s Terrel’s younger brother Marcus.
As a Grade 10, Marcus is in his first year on the senior squad. In less than half the game against Mouat he caught two passes for 50 yards and made a defensive interception.
“We’re up against some much bigger teams — 40, 50, and 60 players — but we’re lucky with the talent we have,” Townsend said. “We’re very blessed with (the running tandem of) Mason and Terrell, whether they’re running from the backfield or if one lines up as a receiver, as both can catch the ball.”
With such a small squad, success this year hinges on the health of the team, added Townsend.
“We’ll have to be lucky with injuries, so we have to be careful in practice. We already lost varsity player David Verville for the season with a severe arm break suffered in practice.”
Mt. Doug wraps up its exhibition schedule against the Belmont Bulldogs at Bear Mountain Stadium in Langford’s City Centre Park on Sept. 30.